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Do New Voting Laws Suppress Fraud? Or Democrats?

More than a dozen states have passed new voting regulations this year. Kris Kobach, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas, says his state's voter ID law will cut down on fraud. But Rolling Stone's Ari Berman, who has covered the laws extensively, says fraud isn't widespread and the laws disproportionately affect certain groups.
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Gray Holds Town Hall With D.C. Kids

Mayor Vincent Gray says he likes to talk directly to kids on issues they're concerned about, such as school safety.


Anti-Bullying Laws Get Tough With Schools

New Jersey's Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, considered by many as the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation, went into effect this month. Host Scott Simon talks with Emily Bazelon of Slate Magazine about bullying laws, where they're working and where they're headed (hint: the Supreme Court).

U.S. Underwhelmed With Emerging Powers At U.N.

The Obama administration has courted the world's emerging powers. But now that India, South Africa and Brazil have rotating seats on the U.N. Security Council, U.S. officials and human rights activists complain they're not living up to expectations.

Al Sharpton's Unlikely Rise To MSNBC Host

MSNBC's newest opinion host is the Rev. Al Sharpton, a figure much better known for a past in which he cast more heat than light. With his new job, Sharpton is now on his third act in public life: from a civil rights activist to a player in the Democratic Party to, now, a cable talk show host.

N.Y. Special Election Shows Obama's Trials To Come

The heavily Jewish and Democratic 9th district voted Republican, reflecting the president's weakening support. Some analysts attribute the loss to the conservative Jewish community's distrust of Obama's stance on Israel, while others point to polls that say the economy was a more significant factor.

Week In Politics: Special Election; Jobs

Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators E.J. Dionne, of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks, of the New York Times.

Pa. May Change Electoral College Allocation Rules

Republican leaders in Pennsylvania's Legislature want to change how Electoral College votes in the state are allocated. Changing from a winner-takes-all system to a proportionate one based on congressional districts could help the GOP candidate gain a few extra votes in 2012. But the plan is controversial — even among Republicans.

Obama Signs Patent Overhaul Bill

Hoping it will spur innovation, President Obama signed a bill Friday overhauling the nation's patent laws. The law switches to a "first to file" rule for granting patents. It also allows new challenges to existing patents. But critics say it will not help individual inventors get their ideas to market. Melissa Block talks to NPR's Laura Sydell for more.